How to Get Over Fear of Driving Over Bridges

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There are countless of phobias in the world, yet one seems to stick out, and that is a fear of driving. Believe it or not, driving anxiety is one of the most common issues. No matter how normal driving may seem to you, to others, it looks like a total catastrophe before it even happens.

This is a common mindset for those that suffer from chronic anxiety, and it may result in several consequences, ranging from increased likelihood of traffic accidents to panic attacks. This is the reason why addressing any kind of anxiety, including the one related to driving is a must. Luckily, the problem is well-documented, and there are many different methods on how to get over fear of driving over bridges. 

Now, driving anxiety can get particularly tricky when it correlates with another phobia, which is, in this case, fear of driving over bridges. Yes, you heard us right. The main problem here is that not only is the driver afraid of losing control of the car, but in most cases, they have developed a fear of heights and collapsing structures. It seems quite complex, doesn’t it?

Well, that is the reason why the first step in solving any issue is to address its root. To help you overcome your bridge-related phobia, we have prepared a few tips and tricks on how to accept and solve the problem. Let’s take a look at how to get over fear of driving over bridges.

The Concept of Driving Anxiety

We understand that there are people not familiar with the idea of driving anxiety, which is the reason why we have prepared a couple of paragraphs to explain it. The person who has this issue doesn’t actually have to be at the steering wheel. They can be a regular passenger that just doesn’t enjoy being in traffic.

What this means is that not only is driving anxiety caused by fear of driving the car, but fear of unrelated traffic accidents as well. In fact, one of the most common causes for a problem of this type is a past traumatizing experience. Much like with people who have been bitten by a dog, once it happens, chasing that memory away is quite hard.  

Also, for those suffering from driving anxiety, it seems like the best possible solution is to never step in the car again. And so develops the fear of driving itself, unrelated to any kind of previous accident. Also, often related is agoraphobia. This is a fear of unknown destinations and as going from point A to point B with a car is quite efficient, once again the best solution is to not get into that car in the first place.

Now, when we are talking about the fear of driving over bridges, we have two more common fears, including acrophobia (fear of heights) and the fear that the structure will collapse. As we have mentioned above, once it is related to the common driving anxiety, it will result in that person taking different, perhaps longer routes, to escape confronting their fear of bridges.

In fact, it is quite common that not only does that person have a fear of driving over a bridge, but also walking over one. This is the reason why the issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as it can quickly progress into a more severe condition. 

The Symptoms of Bridge-Related Fear

Much like with any other anxiety or fear, there are several physical symptoms that stand as red flags to warn you about the existing condition. The first symptom of being afraid of driving over bridges you feel is being light-headed and dizzy. This is commonly related to the fact that people that have developed a fear of bridges think the wind can blow them off, or that it may collapse at any given moment. Another common symptom is shortness of breath and heavy perspiration. Both of these are physical signs that you are not feeling well and that you might have a panic attack coming on

Now while these are the common physical symptoms for gephyrophobia, there are certain behavioral red flags that you might want to focus on. First of all, a person that is suffering from gephyrophobia is likely to avoid that specific route and search for another way to reach a specific destination. This will often lead to more energy and time invested in order to escape that fear.

In most cases, the person is even willing to risk making it to an important event on time because of their fear of driving over bridges. Another common symptom is that those people avoid entirely talking about bridges and they don’t like being near bridges whatsoever.

Do you know the Golden Gate Bridge that most of us admire in San Francisco? Well, for a person with gephyrophobia, driving across this bridge would be an absolute nightmare. While this is not the most ideal situation, as long as the person is ready to accept the issue and confront it, there is not much to worry about. If not – well, that may lead to some further trouble.

Try Going To A Therapy

Once we have addressed the concept of driving anxiety and the fear mentioned above of crossing over bridges, it is time to go ahead and look at some efficient methods of coping with the problem. The first and most common one is investing your time and money in specific behavioral therapies.

As we have mentioned above, before you decide to go too deeply into any of these methods, be sure to check if you do suffer from the fear of driving over bridges by looking out for symptoms such as panic attacks, dizziness, sweaty palms, shortness of breath and irrational negative thoughts about bridges.

If you are able to find a root cause or connect this issue with some other anxiety disorder, even better, as solving it is going to be much easier once you know what is the root cause behind it.

Are you afraid of open spaces or heights? Is it the sole idea of going over a structure with your car? Whatever it is, talking it through with your friend or a family member is a great start. Move on by searching for a good behavioral therapist that may address your issue from a professional point of view. They are likely to have worked with people who have suffered from gephyrophobia, which is the reason why they will be of more help to you than your relatives.

The central idea of visiting a behavioralist is for you to develop a positive mindset and learn how to connect positive experiences with bridges. You will probably be recommended to journal as it is one of the most effective ways of settling down your thoughts and emotions and changing your perspective on things. 

Chances are you will probably be introduced to desensitization or common exposure therapy. The whole idea of this concept is for you to face the root and the object of your fear effectively. What this means is that apart from just thinking about bridges and discussing them with your friends and relatives, you will be motivated into actually crossing over one with baby steps.

Exposure therapies are usually made to last a number of short sessions with each exposure time increasing for a slight percentage. What this means is that you might start by watching people drive over bridges, then move on to standing on a bridge by yourself for a longer time, and end it by successfully crossing the bridge with no negative thoughts coming your way.

This is where mindfulness will also do the trick as focusing on the present moment and given sensations is always key to a positive vibe.

At the end of the day, if you are ready for a behavioral therapy but your fear of bridges is too overwhelming, you might consult with your doctor about certain medications or herbal remedies. From our research, there are a couple of natural remedies that may be of great value when it comes to treating anxiety, including lavender, passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, and St. John’s wort.

The Desensitization Process

As we have mentioned above, desensitization is something that you will have to go through, whether as a part of the exposure therapy or as a single process since you are ready to face your fear. The first step in this process is accepting that you do have a problem.

Once you are aware of it, addressing it is as easy as focusing your thoughts on bridges, but this time in a different manner. Instead of imagining a catastrophic accident, think of bridges as beautiful and fun meeting points where people share a laugh and enjoy their time together. Also, think of bridges as the necessary travel path in order for you to reach your desired destination.

The imaginary therapy, along with step by step desensitization, can do wonders. Once you are ready, it is time to go to the nearest bridge, cross over it, and enjoy your time there (start with a small one). Make sure to maintain that routine and why not call your friends or relatives for a walk along the bridge.

Another common way of getting comfortable with bridges is to watch movies that feature or are based on bridges. One of our personal favorites is The Bridge on the River Kwai. It is a classic that will not only get you emotional and understanding of the tough times that people go through, but also remind you of the importance of bridges.

Driving Over The Bridge

Once you go through the steps mentioned above, including accepting and addressing the issue, it is time to go ahead and drive over a bridge. Now, it doesn’t have to be you at first. Instead, ask your friend or relative to sit at the steering wheel and take you across the bridge. What should you do as you cross the bridge? Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

One of the best ways to get over your driving over a bridge fear is to find out if there is a driving service nearby. Knowing that support and help may be on the way in case something goes wrong, will give you peace of mind and allow you to truly go through the moment, without obsessing over all the negative scenarios.

There is no need to rush it.  Remain patient through the whole process, but try to make it a part of your daily routine. In just a matter of a few weeks, you are sure to be relieved of your gephyrophobia and ready to roll as you have never done before.

Conclusion

Dealing with a fear of driving over bridges is not uncommon, and if you were to look it up on different forums (which is probably how you ended up reading this article), you will see that millions of people across the world suffer from this debilitating fear. This should motivate you and make you realize that coping with it it is not as hard as you think.

In fact, as long as you have a supportive group of people around you and you are ready to accept and address the problem, it will be gone in no time. It all comes down to finding the right ways to identify the problem and deal with the root cause. Using a few herbal remedies may also help calm you down when you get scared, but eventually, you will not need these anymore. One day you will simply drive over the bridge without a care in the world, having overcome your fear.

We hope that the tips that we have shared with you above will help you on your journey to overcome your fear of driving over bridges. And who knows – perhaps in a few years, you just may be the producer of The Bridge on the River Kwai remake!

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